Employment Strategy: Flash the Chaplain?

I used to think I had some sort of jinx about clothes, but I finally figured out that God just created me for comic relief.

I’ve already told about slipping and bumping down the stairs on my rear when attempting to make a grand entrance wearing a new sexy and sophisticated black cocktail dress for a college date.

Another time I was wearing a much bustier cousin’s hand me down debutant evening gown. It was strapless with a flowing soft chiffon skirt with a slight train. I felt like a princess. As I stepped forward to meet my date’s parents in the receiving line, he accidentally stood on the train. I almost made my own debut when I went forward and the dress did not.

In high school I was dating a very nice boy pretty steadily, but out of the blue, he asked another girl to a party at my best friend’s house. I was crushed. Particularly, since the other girl looked so much like me, we could have been sisters. Another boy invited me to the party, but he was a bit of a dork. So, mother took pity on me and let me spend more that we could afford on a wonderful dress for the party. I arrived at the party confident that my new dress would make me look prettier than the other girl.
I don’t know which of us was more stunned when we saw each other…….both of us wearing the exact same dress. It struck me as funny. I think I made some comment like, “Which twin has the Toni?” But she not only didn’t laugh, she struggled all evening to always be in a different room. Humor won however. My boyfriend asked me to officially go steady the next week.

The clothes jinx tradition continued into my early forties. My husband had started a new business in what turned out to be a recession, so money was tight. I was applying for a much needed civil service job as an Associate Director of Religious Education for the Chaplains’ Division on a nearby Army Post. I had recently been given several very smart hand me down dresses by my wealthy sister-in-law. I chose a tailored A-Line dark blue dress with a high neck and a zipper down the front. I combined it with a camel colored jacket and matching neck scarf. I felt very chic.
I had to go through several interviews, first with the civilian Post Director of Religious Education, then the head Chaplain for the post, and finally the head Chaplain of my denomination. I made it through the first two feeling pretty comfortable. I could tell that the last Chaplain had some reservations about laity having the kind of credentials required for the job. I would be working directly for him, but in a secure Civil Service position. I did my best Southern Lady imitation trying to come over as non-threatening. It seemed to go well and I was told to go get some lunch and come back in an hour after all three of my potential bosses had conferred. As I went out the office door into the January cold, I felt a freezing blast on my chest that took my breath away. I looked down and realized that the zipper that ran from my neck to my waist had pulled apart totally exposing my bra and upper torso. I hastily pulled my jacket closed and ran for my car. In the nearest McDonald’s, I scrounged in my purse and found one safety pin. My jacket had only two low buttons, so I used my safety pin at bra level and arranged my scarf to cover the rest of the gap. By the time I managed to get decent, it was time to return and learn my fate. Nervous and self-conscious, sneaking peeks at my chest, I struggled to sound delighted that I had been accepted for the job and restrain the overwhelming urge to bolt out the door.

I never knew when the zipper had come apart or whether anyone else had noticed, but later when I got to know the very Italian Chaplain, I always wondered if flashing him got me the job.

Well, according to Paul, everything works for good for those that love the Lord. :)

About Eileen

Mother of five, grandmother of eleven, great-grandmother of seven Rice University in Houston, TX. Taught primary grades; Was Associate Post Director of Religious Education at Ft. Campbell, KY; Consultant on the Myers/Briggs Type Indicator; Presently part time Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper for Architect husband of fifty-five years. Blog: Laughter: Carbonated Grace

Posted on March 22, 2014, in Humor, Personality and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Loved this post. I can’t tell you how many times during my life I wandered into a gathering, thinking I looked fine, and ended up feeling like a penguin in a flock of flamingos.

    • I kind of rebelled against the penguin look alike thing and went for the flamingo ……But wanting to stand out by being different was not the same as being different by falling down stairs, almost “coming out” of my dress, or flashing priests! Some of us are always on the left foot when everyone else is on their right! But being comic relief is a grace of sorts.

  2. Thanks for the chuckles, Eileen. Delightful post. xo

  3. Thanks for coming by, Sirena. I’m delighted to have discovered your blog.

  4. Oh my goodness! Thank you for this delightfully amusing post, and for sharing these moments. I can completely relate with my own ‘clothing jinx’s’ but I do admit I think you’ve got me beat. What an interview! So funny. Thanks Eileen. Cheers, Gina

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